On The Agenda

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Topping this week’s biggest decisions in local government, Laguna Hills weighs in on the San Onofre nuclear power plant, and Irvine hires an interim city attorney firm — but at what cost?

Laguna Hills council members are scheduled to vote Tuesday on sending a letter to nuclear safety regulators expressing safety concerns over plans to restart the San Onofre plant and seeking reimbursement to the public for the plant’s faulty generators.

Southern California utility customers are said to be paying about $54 million per month to run the plant, which hasn’t been producing electricity for more than a year after a minor radiation leak was discovered.

A report by Councilwoman Melody Carruth asserted that plant operator, Southern California Edison, “has not been forthright with its ratepayers” and “failed to properly oversee and manage the design process for equipment which was paid for by ratepayers.”

Edison has strongly disputed such statements, saying it has been fully open and has followed safety regulations.

Laguna Hills leaders are also set to explore options for creating a city planning commission.

A report by Mayor Barbara Kogerman strongly urges her colleagues to form such a commission, remarking that of the 34 cities in Orange County, only four — Aliso Viejo, Cypress, Laguna Hills and Villa Park — have no independent planning commissions.

In Irvine on Tuesday, council members are scheduled to appoint the law firm Jones & Mayer as their new interim city attorney, but it’s unknown how much the new contract will cost.

“Specific financial terms of the agreement for interim city attorney are unknown,” City Manager Sean Joyce wrote in his staff report.

And a search of the contract didn’t show any cap on how much the firm would make, though it does provide for up to $300 per hour in compensation.

Terminating the previous contract with Rutan & Tucker was a move by the Republican majority to bring new officials into the city bureaucracy who don’t have longstanding relationships with Democrats Larry Agran and Beth Krom.

Here’s a rundown of agendas this week:

Orange County Transportation Authority, Monday, March 25, at 9 a.m.

  • Receiving a report on the agency’s plans in the event of a fuel crisis.
  • Improving beach trail crossing safety in San Clemente.
  • Approving a four-year, $160,000 contract with MC Transportation to provide bus service for disabled riders.
  • Reviewing the M2020 plan.

Anaheim City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 5 p.m.

  • Approving a contract with Paul Maurer Shows for Cinco de Mayo celebrations at La Palma Park at an unspecified cost.
  • Increasing the cost of a contract with Dudek from $790,000 to $980,000 for construction management services of the water recycling demonstration project “largely due to extensions in the time needed to construct the project.”
  • Resolution memorializing council direction to the city attorney to sign future conflict of interest waivers for the city’s legal representatives.

Irvine City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 4 p.m.

  • Appointing the law firm Jones & Mayer as interim city attorney at an “unknown” cost, according to city staff. The contract provides for up to $300 per hour in compensation with no apparent cap.
  • Considering a request from Councilman Larry Agran to reconsider expanding the iShuttle service.

Laguna Hills City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m.

  • Approving a contract with Aliso Meadows Condominium Association to provide $162,000 in community development block grant funds for rehabilitating 20 low-to-moderate income housing units.
  • Approving a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating concern over plans to restart the San Onofre nuclear power plant and seeking reimbursement to the public for the plant’s faulty generators.

Rancho Santa Margarita City Council, Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m.

  • Authorizing the sale of $174,000 in public utility credits to Laguna Beach for $96,000 and transferring the revenue into the council strategic reserve category of the general fund’s “council strategic reserve.”

San Clemente City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 4 p.m.

  • Receiving the 2013 long-term financial plan and transfers adding up to several million dollars.

Adam Elmahrek and Brendan Wiles contributed to this report.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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On The Agenda

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Highlighting this week’s public meeting agendas in Orange County is the Board of Supervisors’ move to appoint Chandra Wallar county CEO, the first public acknowledgment that supervisors have been for weeks courting Santa Barbara County’s chief executive.

Wallar’s appointment was facing a split board as of last week. A key stumbling block to negotiations so far has been the cost of Wallar’s pension.

County supervisors, who unanimously imposed a labor deal on county attorneys over the issue, have publicly stated that a central goal of their labor negotiations is to have all employees pay their share of annual pension payments.

Last month, supervisors’ private talks accelerated after Voice of OC revealed that Wallar was being courted as CEO.

Meanwhile, supervisors are also set to receive an audit that claims county staff failed to inform supervisors in 2008 that a building to be purchased would need renovations that cost more than the price of the property and that the actual revenue source to buy the real estate was a restricted account under the clerk-recorder’s office.

Withholding such information key to deciding whether to buy the property was identified as “two critical control weaknesses” in the audit.

It also places blames on the clerk-recorder’s office, county Public Works and the county CEO’s office for failing to disclose some of the information.

News of the audit comes just as the clerk-recorder’s office is embroiled in another controversy over paying Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman $24,000 for a draft report that in Supervisor John Moorlach’s estimation could have been prepared in about five hours.

In Moorlach’s view, the county paid 24 times the report’s actual value.

In Lake Forest, City Council members will discuss waiving the deliberative process privilege, which allows public agencies to deny requested disclosure of some communications under the California Public Records Act.

The privilege is controversial because local government officials in some cases have interpreted case law regarding the privilege so that agencies could deny requests for elected officials’ public meeting calendars and email conversations.

Open-government experts have disputed that the exemption can be used to withhold such documents.

Here is a rundown of noteworthy meeting agenda items:

Orange County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, March 19, at 9:30 a.m.

  • Accepting and filing internal audits for the month of February, including a report that shows county staff failed to inform supervisors about the renovation cost and true source of funds for a building the county purchased in 2008.
  • Directing county staff to respond to a grand jury report harshly critical of Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s push to remake the agency’s governing structure.
  • Selecting Macias, Gini & O’Connell or alternatively Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. for independent auditing and related services

Santa Ana City Council, Monday, March 18, at 5 p.m.

  • Nominations to various city boards and commissions by Mayor Miguel Pulido and council members Vincent Sarmiento and Roman Reyna.
  • Request for proposals for closed-circuit television monitoring of city sewers.
  • One-year extension of Measure M2 funding for the Grand Avenue widening project.
  • Application for Southern California Edison funding for an online permitting program under the Public Works and Planning departments.
  • Two-year extension of the solar permit fee waiver program.
  • Deciding whether to place an initiative on the 2014 November ballot to allow a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Closed Session

  • Santa Ana Station District, LLC Santa Ana Station District LP, et al vs. Matosantos, state Department of Finance, Santa Ana Successor Agency, et al. 
  • Hilda Cuenca, Claudia Castaneda, Enimia Hernandez and Evangelina Avalos vs. state Department of Finance and Ana Matosantos (Department of Finance director). 
  • Anticipated/potential litigation with state Department of Finance. Interim city manager evaluation and appointment. 

Fullerton City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 5 p.m.

  • Study session at 4 p.m. to review Office of Independent Review recommendations for police department oversight and citizen advisory roles. 
  • Approval of a 52-unit housing project on a 2.7-acre site on the south side of Orangethorpe Avenue.
  • Extending an exclusive negotiating agreement with FTX Acquisitions for development of the Fullerton Transportation Center. 
  • Extending a memorandum of understanding between the city and Las Vegas Railway Express regarding a train line to Las Vegas. 

Fountain Valley City Council, Special Meeting, Tuesday, March 19, at 5 p.m.

  • Rezoning five properties from agricultural to residential. 
  • Decreasing the city’s contribution for various employee groups’ pension plans. 

Brea City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m.

  • Orange County Community Development Block Grant application for $119,500 to make parking, ramp, kitchen and dining improvements at the Brea Senior Center.

La Habra City Council, Monday, March 18, at 4 p.m.

  • Obtaining earthquake insurance from Landmark Insurance Co. at a policy limit of $5 million.

La Palma City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.

Closed Session

  • City manager evaluation.

Los Alamitos City Council, Monday, March 18, at 6 p.m.

  • Designating Joshua Brooks as finance director.
  • Budget adjustment to complete the city’s speed hump project.
  • Changing the council policy on keeping meeting minutes.
  • A list of the council’s prioritized concerns for Congressman Alan Lowenthal. 

Closed Session

  • Appointing a city attorney and city manager. 

Yorba Linda City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 5:30 p.m.

Dana Point City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 5 p.m.

  • Interviewing applicants to fill two expiring terms on the Planning Commission and two expiring terms on the Traffic Improvement Subcommittee.

Aliso Viejo City Council, Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m.

  • Receiving a midyear budget report and the status of the city’s reserve fund, which is projected to be $25.3 million at the end of this fiscal year.

Laguna Beach City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m.

  • Submitting a grant application to the Orange County Transportation Authority for up to $525,000 in Measure M Project V funds to be used to augment or expand the city’s trolley service in the summer.

Laguna Niguel City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.

  • Approving a three-year contract with Fireworks America for Fourth of July firework shows.

Lake Forest City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 5:30 p.m.

  • Submitting a grant application to the Orange County Transportation Authority for purchasing additional passenger vans to transport employees from the train station to their place of work.

San Clemente City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m.

San Juan Capistrano City Council, Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m.

  • Accepting a $2,500 donation from Doctor’s Ambulance Service to be spent on equipment and supplies to train city residents with basic first aid skills.
  • Accepting a $4,735 donation from the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition for the purchase of an emergency storage container to store response supplies and equipment for equestrian evacuation and sheltering in the event of an emergency.

Brendan Wiles contributed to this article.

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On The Agenda

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Topping this week’s biggest decisions in local government, Irvine considers changes to its general plan, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors chooses candidates for the clerk-recorder position.

The Irvine City Council is scheduled Tuesday to discuss comprehensive changes to the city’s general plan, the first such update in more than a decade.

The general plan serves as a city’s road map for land use, traffic, public services, economic development, public space and other issues. Irvine staffers expect their two-year process to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million, with final approval in 2014.

And supervisors on Tuesday are set to choose which candidates they’ll interview to fill the vacant clerk-recorder position.

Former Supervisor Chris Norby and former state Sen. Dick Ackerman are among several high-profile political players vying for the job.

Supervisors are also set to receive an update from the county’s federal lobbyist, highlighting potential funding reductions for the Santa Ana River Project, homeless assistance programs and the new health care law.

Here’s a rundown of what’s up for debate this week across Orange County:

Orange County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, March 12, at 9:30 a.m.

  • Selecting candidates to interview for the clerk-recorder position, with former Supervisor Chris Norby, former state Sen. Dick Ackerman and Assistant Clerk-Recorder Renee Ramirez among those in the running.
  • Updating by the county’s federal lobbyist, highlighting potential funding reductions for the Santa Ana River Project, homelessness assistance programs and the new health care law.
  • Approving a list of 11 on-call architect-engineer contractors for county public works projects and negotiating $300,000 contracts for each of them. Topping the list are Fugro Consultants, GMU Geotechnical and Earth Mechanics.
  • Extending herbicide spraying contract with RPW Services by one year for $200,000.

Irvine City Council Special Meeting, Tuesday, March 12, at 3 p.m.

Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors, Monday, March 11, at 9 a.m.

Garden Grove City Council, Tuesday, March 12, at 5:30 p.m.

Newport Beach City Council, Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m.

  • Giving final approval to the large-scale Uptown Newport housing development, which will include more than 1,200 units on the north side of Jamboree Road between Birch Street and the intersection of Von Karman Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.
  • Establishing a seven-member bicycle master plan oversight committee to provide guidance and public comment for a the city’s first bicycle master plan.
  • Reimbursing former Mayor Tod Ridgeway $21,000 for improvements his company made to the city’s sewer line as part of a development project.
  • Directing the Planning Commission to reconsider a request by Woody’s Wharf to extend its closing hour from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, among other changes to its conditional use permit.

Orange City Council, Tuesday, March 12, at 4:30 p.m.

  • Approving a $100,000 contract amendment with Chapman University for local cable TV programming.

Buena Park City Council, Tuesday, March 12, at 5 p.m.

  • Approving a $131,000 purchase of two undercover and three black-and-white police vehicles to replace older vehicles.

Westminster City Council, Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m.

  • Holding a public hearing on the city’s annual action plan to discuss how the city will spend federal funds for housing and community development needs.

Laguna Hills City Council, Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m.

  • Choosing a date to interview applicants for a vacant Parks and Recreation Commission position or selecting a new commissioner from a list of previous applicants.
  • Changing the starting time for council closed sessions to 6 p.m.

Rancho Santa Margarita City Council, Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m.

  • Approving a $72,000 one-year contract with Age Well Senior Services to provide Meals on Wheels and other programs and activities.

Adam Elmahrek and Brendan Wiles contributed to this report.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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On the Agenda

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Coming up this week in public meetings, county supervisors again discuss their new CEO’s salary, and the Lake Forest City Council explores greater transparency.

Another uncomfortable moment could be in store on Tuesday, as county supervisors once again discuss salary options for preferred county CEO candidate Chandra Wallar.

Their discussion last week almost immediately turned contentious, with some supervisors uncomfortable talking about the issue publicly and union leaders accusing supervisors of planning to bump the position’s salary to cover pension costs.

Those accusations drew a sharp rebuke from Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who challenged the claims as inflammatory.

Supervisors are also set to approve $6 million in construction contracts on Tuesday without an explanation in the staff report for where the money can be found.

And in Lake Forest on Tuesday, council members are set to discuss options for opening their city up to greater transparency.

The menu of options includes speeding up response times to public records requests, requiring department heads to discuss records responses with requestors and posting campaign contribution disclosures online.

This week’s top issues:

OC Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, March 5, at 9:30 a.m.

Closed Session

  • Discussing appointment of a new county CEO.

Anaheim City Council, Tuesday, March 5, at 5 p.m.

Santa Ana City Council, Monday, March 4, at 5:45 p.m.

  • Approving joint use agreement with Santa Ana Unified School District for use of Roosevelt Elementary School park, and construction cost of $4.9 million.
  • Modifying the city’s alcohol sales and entertainment laws.  Staff are requesting that a decision be delayed at least three months.
  • Closed session discussion of purchasing a car repair shop at 1222 East 4th St. from Walter W. Cole, Jr. and Antoinette Cole.

Costa Mesa City Council, Tuesday, March 5, at 6 p.m.

  • Approving an agreement to pay $15,000 toward a feasibility study for a joint use track-and-field facility at Costa Mesa High School from the $300,000 already budgeted for the project this fiscal year.
  • Approving a $30,000 contract increase for Keyser Marston Associates Consulting for a new total of $130,000.

Aliso Viejo City Council, Wednesday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Approving a $60,000 one-year contract extension with Townsend Public Affairs for grant writing and lobbying services.
  • Approving a one-year contract extension with the Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley for $152,000.

Dana Point City Council, Tuesday, March 5, at 5 p.m.

Laguna Beach City Council, Tuesday, March 5, at 6 p.m.

  • Authorizing the purchase of $175,000 worth of public utility credits for $96,000 from the city of Rancho Santa Margarita for expanding underground electricity infrastructure.

Laguna Niguel City Council, Tuesday, March 5, at 7 p.m.

  • Approving a $330,000 contract with CRW Systems to install new land management software for the Community Development Department.  

Lake Forest City Council, Tuesday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m.

  • Considering open-government policies and practices, including possibly speeding up response times to public records requests, requiring department heads to discuss records responses with requestors and posting campaign contribution disclosures online.
  • Approving appointment to the League of California Cities. 

Brendan Wiles contributed to this report.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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